tv [untitled] February 2, 2012 2:48pm-3:18pm PST
the historic and charming character of our residential districts, our cable cars, the bank -- hey, we could walk across the bay right now a flat to the developers -- if left to the developers. let's not try to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, but let's try to keep her alive. these proposed amendments are not going to do that. thank you very much. president miguel: thank you. >> hello, commissioners. i am a resident and a tenant of district 5. i wanted to come here to speak in support of hpc's amendments. i moved to the city because i love the historical integrity of the city, and it is really sad to me that we have been losing a lot of the historic night light here, but i really appreciate what supervisor wiener has done.
i appreciate the fact that he is setting clear goals and expectations, but i believe that these goals and expectations, which are supposed to inspire confidence -- they actually seem like they are really, really hard, and they do exactly the opposite of that. i just hope that we will take that into consideration. thanks. president miguel: thank you. [reading names] >> afternoon, commissioners. we work on policy advocacy to promote sustainable communities, particularly in san francisco bay area and low-income communities of color. i voted for prop. j. i wanted to approve a historic preservation commission, and i knew very well i was also approving likely the creation of new historic districts. i also wanted to see safeguards for vulnerable communities that,
as we created these new districts, that we would have certain safeguards for, particularly low-income residents, fixed income residents, and residents who, in my experience, sometimes when you advance historic districts, you have to be really careful that you do not gentrify, that you do not create certain expenses and costs of keeping up with the historic preservation jones' -- joneses. i think the commissioner, one of my friends, he said he would like to see districts all across the city, which is fine of that is what is going to happen, but we have to have safeguards. the only safeguard i have seen to address gentrification are those proposed by supervisor wiener. i think that the hpc, certainly
the ones proposing economic hardship waiver -- we advocated in actual affirmative vote before districts are created to ensure the maximum amount of safeguards. we think it is very reasonable doubt. i think that is advisory. i think we have been proposing a 100% threshold from the beginning, and today, we heard it might have been lowered to 50%. more than reasonable, especially since it sounds like it is not binding, but to be informative, the folks who may not want to live in a historic district, but may want to be ok with not demolishing their home, may not be able to keep up with the expenses of what it takes. very reasonable to have an economic hardship provision. i think that promotes affordable housing. i agree with what mr. tony kelly said earlier. the ami definition, when we talk
about middle income housing, particularly for blue-collar workers trying to stay in san francisco -- we do not want to use the area median income when we look at what is blue-collar and what is middle income. we want to look at san francisco. that is just one aside, but it sounds like there are some ideas on how we give the rights to tenants to make sure they have the ability to vote on whether they want to live in one of these districts or not, but we need additional safeguards, and supervisor wiener's proposal is one of the only ones we have seen. thank you. president miguel: thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i am not going to opine on the process for establishing historic districts, but i want to focus on what comprises the sort of elements of character when a historic district is established or when there is the conversation about creating one.
one of the aspects about the proposed amendment that strikes me as being particularly difficult to understand and kind of absurd is this notion that it is only character-defining if you can see it from the street. it is sort of a museum of superficiality, which i can kind of picture in my head. that does not make a district. it does not make a community. it does not define history. what i would like to suggest is that the definition of what character-defining features are be part of the process. whether that is the eve of your roof -- i am not an architect or historian -- or whether that is the character of the open space or even the interiors, whatever they may be, the point is this is a tool to be able to preserve those characteristics of history and respect them and carry them forward as our neighborhoods
transform. it is not about cherry picking the parts of physical features that we think we want to see because it is queued and everything else becomes subject to total demolition. i do not understand quite how that works either functionally or either philosophically -- either functional or philosophically. the big battlegrounds are the open spaces, so it is hard to imagine -- it is hard not to imagine that you can build up as much as you wanted to the rear and finally -- and fundamentally undermine the characteristics of the neighborhood as long as people cannot see it from the street. that carte blanche is ok as long as it looks pretty from the surface, and we have tons of those projects in our neighborhood, and i do not think it is good history or good planning or the design or good policy. i suggest we think about how to use the tools to be able to hold
those features that matter to a community, not pre-prescribe them. thank you. president miguel: thank you. is there additional public comment on this item? please line up on the side over here. >> i was not going to speak today, but wanted to make two comments as briefly as i could manage. i am not here to oppose all of supervisor wiener's amendments, either in their original form or the form they have evolved to, nor am i here to support all of the preservation commission, but i wanted to make explicit the question i think was raised early on in the debate months ago, but i do not think was said here today. that is -- and i asked you to consider this in your deliberation -- what is a legitimate justification for
imposing upon this particular area of activity standards and criteria that to not apply to any other land use regulation that i am aware of? for example, the owner approval measure, and secondarily, some of the regional housing standards that still apparently stand in this language, as i understand it. that is just a segue to the second point to remind us all of what i guess today's debate has been reduced to, a comparison between, as i understand the presentation, supervisor wiener 's position in contrast with the preservation commission's position as of yesterday. the san francisco heritage letter as of january 26, which i thought was extraordinarily helpful in identifying the issues that deserve, i think, serious attention, still goes through a number of issues that apparently the preservation commission yesterday did not
take a position in support of. but if any of you still think thoseconsideration, invite you i think there are some. let me say in all sincerity, i want to thank this commission for the obvious seriousness with which you have considered this topic now over many months. i have often felt in san francisco we get distracted and focus a lot of our energy on the new construction. being a city where so much of what you hear is historic and preexists, sometimes i feel like that has gotten short shrift. i appreciate that this commission has taken the issue very seriously. president miguel: thank you. >> i am here to support san francisco architectural heritage put the recommendations and oppose the amendments that would place a very burdensome
hurdle on the creation of historic districts, which some day, as in the past, may very well be important in preserving cultural and institutional gems like chinatown. i am an architect who has worked on shopping centers, hotels, commercial and institutional buildings, rehabilitation is, remodelings, historic preservation is, alterations to historic preservation, additions to historic preservation is. in all of these projects, there are many codes that are difficult for professionals and difficult for clients, but we all deal with them. building codes, planning codes, zoning codes, americans with disabilities act, fire and accident codes, structural engineering, mechanical, electrical sustainability
guidelines, grant restrictions -- these all apply to our projects. the secretary of interior standards -- it is not that difficult compared to, say, fire and exiting code. we do not place restrictions on nationally or internationally recognized standards that have evolved over many decades. i would like to give some examples on some projects i have worked on on what was the most stringent -- was it preservation or was it other codes? in golden gate park, for instance, ada actually had much more interesting restrictions.
we had to do something that did not appear to include ramps. with everything slope, you do structurally, we did not want to provide visual obstruction. the poured sandstone columns -- we inserted steel. on the veterans building in greenberg, we wanted to not disturb any historic fabric to add the ada ramp. but it did not look like a modern, contrasting ramp. it had to blend with the historic building, so it did. on third street, wheat maintained -- we maintained -- president miguel: thank you. >> good afternoon,
commissioners. my name is rose hilson. please support architectural heritage and hpc's stance on this legislation. thank you. president miguel: thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i am not an architecture. -- an architect. i am not a developer. i use tim as my expert. if he is for it, i am against it. i think we should leave this to the experts. that means san francisco heritage and the hpc commission. some of the points that i am concerned about is the outreach process. i think in san francisco, where many of the homeowners do not
speak english, or may not read proficient fleet -- that is a major problem. also, that affects renters. i think the bar is a little bit too high in that regard. i know in the past there have been many important ordinances and changes with regard to the housing element. there have been demolition controls. people just did not understand and did not get involved. i think the same is going to happen here. thank you. >> i am speaking in support of
the amendments proposed by supervisors weiner and olague. the devil is in the details. if you look at the details, but are incredibly modest. everything that was proposed several months ago by supervisor weiner has been watered down, negotiated, and moderated in such a way that there is very clear consensus on most of these items. i want to speak to a few of them where the hpc disagreed with the supervisors. 10.1, it is important to understand that the 50% to nominate a district -- all that means is for a district that is nominated ben nobody else, by any expert, by heritage -- if it is never good-nominated, it requires 50% of the neighbors to sign that nomination to enforce the hearing. but the hpc can hold a hearing
when there is 5% or 0% of neighbors. it is not an urgency issue. there was originally some language about getting neighborhood bias to surges -- to service. that language has been removed. i think it is important to look at -- i think it is surprising and disappointing the was a recommended deletion of anything to do with the hardship exception. it seems like overreach. i think the supervisor tried to make a modest, reasonable proposal. i think you ought to support him on that. a couple of issues have come up. 1111.7 -- even for an unrated
building downtown, the hpc can stop demolition if it thinks it needs to be reclassified. they have 180 days to make that decision. if baseball and do not make that decision, that building can go forward. it is a very modest proposal. it has nothing to do with property owners such s gdr's. there is no reason not to have a 180 day limit, to give the hpc standards by which they can review whether an unrated building ought to be reclassified before it is considered for demolition. finally, there is modest language on the cumulative impact on the district and what that means. the ordinance says that even if a building demolition downtown is appropriate, the hpc can consider the cumulative impact. the supervisor of its own language --
president miguel: thank you. it is the additional public comment on this item? if not, public comment is closed. commissioner? >> supervisor weiner asked me to clarify a point about character depth of defining features and where that are located. there is no part of the proposed legislation or any amendment that said that only character- defining features visible from the street would be subject to certificates of appropriateness. any details would be subject. i just wanted to mentor to clarify that. commissioner sugaya: just along the line, on 1006.6, the language here that includes
"shall be adopted by both the hpc and the planning commission"-- let us assume that space the way it is. does that mean that as the department develops interpretation of the secretary of the interior -- i am assuming the standards remain as the standards. >> that is correct. commissioner sugaya: preserving, restoring, and rehabilitation. >> yes. this is based on local interpretations of the existing guidelines. commissioner sugaya: exactly. so all the standard still exist. >> that is correct. it would reference the full standards for the treatment of historic property, all of the various -- commissioner sugaya: as we enter into the process, i assume that
the staff level there will be some drafting work done at the hpc and planning commission and we will have informational sessions there. what happens in the case that the hpc or the commission does not adopt the standards or interpretive guidelines? >> my understanding is the way it is drafted in the matter is that if both commissions did not adopt them, they would not be in effect until both commissions adopted them. commissioner sugaya: can i get clarification from the city attorney on that? i do not think it will happen. but the language as it stands could lead to estimate, so to
speak, where one of the other commission will not act to adopt. >> regular standards will apply without interpretation. commissioner sugaya: thank you. in terms of the up to 150% definition, it could be the case that a building, in this case -- the hardship applies. give me some feedback here. applies to an existing building. that is either a landmark or in the historic district? someone then would want to convert? >> it applies to a project that would require a c of a.
>> any c of a, whatever the scope of the project. commissioner sugaya: it could be new construction in a historic district? >> it could be. commissioner sugaya: in that case, the developer would come and apply for a c of a be exempted if the product or at 80% of a particular affordability level? >> the product would not be exempt from the historical preservation. it would be exempt from some fees. provided it did not meet the criteria, the hpc would have responsibilities to apply the standards and where they felt appropriate to allow a substitute materials that would not meet the standards, or methods that may not meet the letter of the standard, but that the hpc still felt was appropriate. this is not an exemption from their review. commissioner sugaya: lastly,
back to the creation of the guidelines -- in the case of a new landmark or a new historic district, i think it is not the case that staff, in a nomination process, would specifically identified as character-defining features of a landmark that are important to its historic significance. similarly, in a historic district, i think there are some in other districts that have been adopted over the years. specific reference to those things that make the district important to the city. >> that is correct. commissioner sugaya: in those cases, those characteristics and guidelines, as you want to call them, would supersede or be a further refinement of whatever guidelines you develops. >> that is correct. two examples as today -- one is for the music concourse.
the designating ordnance includes the landscape within the boundary of the landmarks, so even areas that would not normally -- projects that would not normally come before us would be in this because the designating ordinance has the landscape as a defining feature. 40-x lastly, -- commissioner sugaya: lastly, yesterday's hearing included acceptance of the other amendments that the supervisor had proposed. the ones we have listed here in bullet form are cases where there is disagreement. >> that is correct. the commission went so far as to clarify that by passing 6-0 an overarching resolution in support of supervisor weiner's
amendment, breaking it down into four areas, not all of which were unanimous. overall, they voted to support the amendment with modification. commissioner sugaya: i would like to thank everyone for coming out. it has been a long time since this was brought before us as an informational item or for action. generally, i think the process that has taken place has resulted in a number of positive compromises, from the historic preservation standpoint. i am personally not totally in agreement even with the hpc's actions, but i am not going to second-guess them at this point. i think comments should still be taken into consideration by the board of supervisors. i do not know how much heritage will modify -- he will be
modified and some of them. i think he is an agreement with some of the hpc actions. i think there are a couple of things. on the affordable housing exemption, i would like to take the approach of the hpc and ask the board of supervisors to take a good look at the thresholds and whether 150% at 80% is what the city policy directions should be. and also to take into consideration whether or not there are other parts of the planning, or other codes that could be looked at in advancing either low or moderate income housing in the city. i think that is the crux of part of what the hpc was struggling with. this is a very specific kind of
proposal that came out of where? it is not backed up by any specific policy document, except that we're all in favor of affordable housing. if you want to look at it from the housing element, is backed up. on the other hand, someone testified -- i do not think it is unfair to say that there might not be other instances where advancement of this kind of proposal can be inserted, either in area plans for implementing plans, and other places like that. secondly, i think there are references throughout here that historic preservation projects and historic districts or water should be subject to looking at other general plan elements. of course, we always look at 101.1.
the specific reference to being compatible or not in conflict, or other general plans, i think is slightly unfair at this point, because there is no comparable historic preservation element at this time. if we had a comparable historic preservation element, i would feel more comfortable. then, when we were considering rec and park project, we could say there is a historic preservation element and maybe you ought to conform with that. whereas now there is no element, but there are rec and park open space, housing, urban design, and other elements that have not all been referenced here, but some of them have. i would urge the staff, and whatever motion that comes out of the commission -- i would like to have a recommendation added at the board of supervisors, and this commission
take a look at moving forward on the creation of a historic preservation element, which i think was or is somewhere in the department at this point. second or third, or whatever it is. there has been reference to the preservation commission having to look at -- i forget the wording. for public agencies like rec and park or public works or whatever, to take into consideration their mission, and whatever that language was. i think that it would be nice. i would also make a recommendation that, in answer to that particular amendment proposed by the supervisor, the